A lot happened over the weekend.
First, I’m very disappointed that Bill Richardson had to withdraw from being considered for Commerce Secretary. The news that there is an investigation about pay-to-play allegations concerning a state contract seems oddly timed.
It would certainly be unethical if a company had been awarded a big contract BECAUSE they gave money to the governor’s political action committee. But, at the same time, can we really expect that people who donate to PACs are automatically suspect and should be excluded from getting state contracts?
I just hope that once the state investigation is finished that Obama will find some room in his administration for Richardson.
Second, I was disturbed by the report that Harry Reid had allegedly lobbied Gov. Blagojevich over the Senate appointment prior to his arrest. The AP reported that Reid had called Blago to express his disapproval of appointing Chicago Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Danny Davis, and state Senate President Emil Jones Jr. All three are African-Americans.
Reid is now denying the report and saying he did not tell Blago who NOT to appoint. Nevertheless, it now looks even worse to have Reid threatening to physically block Roland Burris from the Senate chamber this week. Since I don’t think he has any legal ground to stand on anyway, I hope that Reid will back off of the Burris confrontation and cut a deal this week.
Third, Congratualtions to Senator-elect Al Franken from Minnesota. Franken is going to be tentatively certified later today as the winner of the Senate race after the recount gave him a slim-250 vote margin over Republican Norm Coleman. Now I just hope that the courts will throw out all of Coleman’s frivolous challenges just as fast as he can file them. Oh, and John Cornyn can stick his threatened filibuster up his you know what.
Fourth, I hope that Gov. Paterson in New York hurries up and appoints Caroline Kennedy as the Senator to replace Hillary Clinton. It’s a smart move politically for New York to have a celebrity Senator because their power and influence is greatly enhanced beyond their low ranking in the seniority system. Sen. Kennedy will have no problem gaining media attention, despite being the low-woman on the totem pole. And besides, rejecting her and picking someone else at this point would result in a huge uproar that we really don’t need right now. I don’t care about the whole legacy issue and how unfair it is that she is getting the appointment based on her family name. That is the way politics has always been in this country. And besides, political legacies can cut both ways too. Just ask Jeb Bush.
And Fifth, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter was unfairly criticized in my opinion for appointing a non-celebrity, non-legacy individual to replace Ken Salazar in the Senate. I don’t know much about Michael Bennet other than that he was superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, but I wish the first consideration when evaluating a nominee wasn’t whether or not he can raise lots of campaign money. Nor do I think that Ritter should have been confined to picking another Hispanic to replace Salazar.